Greater Manchester asks Government to back early delivery of London-style public transport system

Proposals are key to Greater Manchester’s plans to be carbon neutral by 2038

  • Greater Manchester publishes first of a series of proposals to government to deliver significant transport investment over the next five years
  • The plans are part of a wider Levelling Up Deal for the city-region which will be submitted as part of the government’s spending review
  • The Bee Network will significantly cut carbon emissions and level up our towns and cities, creating a fully integrated London-style transport system which will join together buses, trams, cycling and walking by 2024, with commuter rail incorporated by 2030
  • The vision includes £1.4 billion investment in transport facilities and vital new connections within and between towns, high streets and communities, fast orbital bus routes, new and improved stations and high-quality cycling and walking routes
  • The news marks an important step in Destination: Bee Network – the journey towards a truly joined up transport system and follows the Mayor’s ground-breaking decision earlier this year to bring our buses under public control
  • London has twice the volume of buses per head compared to Greater Manchester and its tube trains have 20 times the capacity of Metrolink trams. Two thirds of GM residents don’t live within walking distance of a frequent bus, tram or rail service and one third don’t have access to a car.
  • In the Autumn, Greater Manchester will set out a broader based set of investment, service enhancement and policy reform proposals to government that will support delivery of a greatly improved city-regional bus network

Greater Manchester’s Leaders are today asking government to back early delivery of a London-style public transport system for the city-region.

As part of the vision, which requires an initial £1.4 billion of funding from national government, Greater Manchester will deliver significant investment in transport facilities – integral to the infrastructure required to create the Bee Network - creating vital new connections between towns, high streets and communities, fast orbital bus routes, new and improved stations and high-quality cycling and walking routes.

The news marks an important step in Destination: Bee Network– the city region’s masterplan to deliver a London-style, integrated transport system across bus, tram, cycling, walking and rail. 

The Bee Network will provide seamless connections across walking, cycling, buses and Metrolink supported by clear customer travel information and simple fares and ticketing.

This is absolutely critical if we want to provide an attractive alternative to people using cars, help change the way people move and ultimately enable Greater Manchester to achieve its ambition to become carbon neutral by 2038.

Delivery of the Bee Network will unlock all of these benefits and will offer options for all journey lengths, from doorstep to destination, for all Greater Manchester residents. It will be integrated, accessible, affordable, accountable and sustainable. But most importantly, it will give everyone an attractive alternative to driving.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Transport is central to our ambitions for a levelled-up Greater Manchester. Improving access to economic opportunity, unlocking new sites for residential and commercial development, promoting improved health and wellbeing through active travel, and making a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of the city region’s economy.

“We know that transport sits at the beating heart of all city-regions and the fact is that ours is just not fit for purpose. There is a huge mismatch between our ambition for Greater Manchester to be one of the best places in the world to grow up, get on and get old and the reality, which is a fragmented, expensive and frustrating transport system.

“A single 20-minute bus journey between Middleton and central Manchester can cost £4.50 – compared to the £1.55 hopper fare in London. Around one third of our residents do not have access to a car. Those that do, drive a lot due to a lack of better alternatives. Half of all trips in our city region are less than two kilometres, and, shockingly, four in 10 of those trips are currently made by car. These habits are stagnating our economy, polluting our air and holding us back from realising our potential. 

“A single, London-style, integrated transport network that is accessible, affordable and reliable will unlock Greater Manchester’s economy. It will significantly improve air quality and it will help us to level up our communities.  Delivering the Bee Network is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and we are demonstrating our commitment by putting forward millions of pounds in local contributions. We are asking government to give us the money and powers we need to get the job done as quickly as possible. Our people deserve much better and this is the first phase of our plan to give them a world-class transport network.” 

Phase one of delivering the Bee Network – a radically improved public transport system for Greater Manchester – will:

  • Deliver a single, integrated and more affordable ticketing system for bus, Metrolink and cycle hire by 2024, and to include rail by 2030
  • Deliver minimum licensing standards for taxis and private hire vehicles across GM, covering safety, vehicle quality and livery
  • Improve access to and deliver new railway stations, including a new station at Golborne and step free access at stations in Salford, Wigan, Tameside and Manchester
  • Build 50 km of quality bus corridors across GM, improving reliability (especially on current poor orbital connections between our towns)
  • Deliver significant improvements in the bus fleet, replacing 30-50% of the fleet with zero emissions vehicles by 2025 and ensuring a high-quality and consistent offer (with common branding, standards of service and information)
  • Create high-quality walking and cycling routes (that are fit for a 12-year-old, a double buggy or a wheelchair user), including through innovative new road layouts like our CYCLOPS junctions
  • Do the development work needed to deliver the next wave of Metrolink expansions, with pipeline proposals to extend to Heywood and Middleton, Stockport, and Manchester Airport Terminal 2

Transport Commissioner, Chris Boardman, added: “London has benefitted from amazing public transport for decades; now it’s Greater Manchester’s time. For one sixth of the cost of Crossrail, we will deliver phase one of our Bee Network plans by 2026 and make public transport a much cheaper, easier and more attractive alternative to the car. 

“It’s not being melodramatic to say that our future prosperity depends on these plans. Happily, our public transport ambitions mirror those of national government and the levelling up agenda so we’re confident that the vision we’re putting forward for government funding will be successful. These are very exciting times for Greater Manchester and we stand ready to put this vision into action.”

Further detail on the five-year vision:

Investing in our town centres and high streets so they can thrive and grow. Our town centres and high streets are the heart and soul of Greater Manchester and high quality transport facilities and connections are vital if our towns are to thrive and reach their true potential. Building on existing investment and schemes to explore better connections, our investment plan includes:

  • A new Bury Interchange as part of major investment in the town centre
  • Accessible Oldham, bringing high quality public realm, improved pedestrian and cycling and access to public transport to the town centre
  • Further improvements to pedestrian, cyclist and green facilities in Stockport Town Centre West, alongside the delivery of a new Interchange in 2023
  • Supporting our high streets through better facilities for people walking, cycling and using public transport in Radcliffe, Middleton, Farnworth, Bolton, Bury, Ramsbottom, Heywood, Littleborough, Stockport Town Centre West and Salford, as well as plans for Deansgate to be partially traffic-free

Connecting our communities. Connecting our towns and communities by investing in new high quality, reliable bus links to reduce travel time between our key towns, new stops and stations and investment in accessibility at stations. We want to make railways stations fully accessible local hubs and genuine assets for the places they serve - no one should be prevented from using the rail network. We want stations to be high-quality gateways into Greater Manchester and, in doing so, unlock the land around them for housing, commercial and community facilities, and this will be achieved through:

  • Upgraded, dedicated high-quality bus routes between Wigan and Bolton, Bury and Rochdale, Rochdale, Oldham and Ashton, Ashton and Stockport, and between Salford and MediaCityUK, as well as improving bus connections to major growth locations
  • Developing the next stage of plans for new Metrolink links for the North of Greater Manchester, including through the investigation of tram train technology, between Oldham, Rochdale, Heywood and Bury, and kick-starting the delivery of the Metrolink extension to Manchester Airport Terminal 2
  • Building on the phenomenal success of the Leigh to Ellenbrook guided bus way, a new travel hub and park and ride at Tyldesley will encourage more people to use the Leigh Guided Busway rather than drive. A state-of-the-art Mobility Hub at Ancoats will bring together services – like EV charging, car clubs, parcel lockers, e-cargo bikes, cycle storage and hire – all in one place to connect them to local residents and businesses
  • A new rail station and park and ride facility at Golborne
  • As part of the Mayor’s commitment to making all stations accessible to all, Priority Access for All rail station schemes will see plans developed for step free access at Swinton, Reddish North, Hindley, Flowery Fields, Bryn, Newton for Hyde, Levenshulme
  • Further work to improve access to new housing and community facilities around stations in Stockport
  • A new rail station at Cheadle to be funded by the Cheadle Towns Fund
  • Funding to develop plans for new Metrolink stops to serve potential new growth locations

Creating a high quality, affordable, reliable and green bus system with more regular bus services on key routes, truly affordable fares and investment in new electric Bee Network Buses, with an ambition for all of our buses to be electric by 2030 to help us meet our commitment to become zero carbon by 2038.

Three-in-every-four public transport trips taken in Greater Manchester are by bus, so we are building a bus network – infrastructure and services - that will be at the level of the very best. This will include:

  • No more timetable guesswork and uncertainty: with more ‘turn up and go’ services where customers can be confident that a bus will be there when they need one
  • Making sure our buses are affordable and accessible to all: cheaper and simpler fares with daily and weekly capping, and one ticket across all forms of public transport
  • A new, environmentally friendly electric and accessible Bee Network Bus fleet plus the modern depots and charging infrastructure to keep them clean, maintained and running on time
  • Live passenger information for all forms of transport at stops and interchanges, on-line, on-board and through your smartphone
  • An enhanced on-board passenger experience, with improved accessibility standards and audio-visual passenger information so you’ll always know where you are and when you need to get off
  • A new Customer Charter to embed a new level of customer experience in bus and across the Bee Network and with a particular focus on building a safe and welcoming environment on-board, at stops and at stations and interchanges
  • A new focus on building the infrastructure to make sure customers can catch a bus and be confident they will get to work, school, college or university, to make an important appointment, or to meet up with friends for a night out on time. Measures will be put in place to help buses moving through traffic, and to create new, reliable and high-quality routes on corridors with shorter journey times between key towns and employment sites
  • We will upgrade stops and stations across Greater Manchester and put in place measures to improve reliability, including to reduce disruption on services caused by roadworks

Article Published: 10/09/2021 13:52 PM